Saturday, March 29, 2008

Blog Watch: The Leningrad Cowboys w/the Red Army Choir

I stumbled upon this wacky video of Finland's Leningrad Cowboys performing Sweet Home Alabama with the Red Army Choir - in English!
You'll love it!
I found it at this link:

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Canadian Credit Report: How Will You Score?

Even if your financial reputation is flawless, credit reporting bureaus, used by lenders, builders, real estate brokerages and other companies to check your credit worthiness, may have the wrong information in your file. Although, Canadian law allows you to correct mistakes and misinformation, the process is slow and the lost time may cost you the mortgage you needed, the condominium unit you wanted or the house you dreamed of.

"About 40 per cent of credit reports have errors that range from not serious to serious, but how we define an error and how they do is different," said Chartered Public Accountant Mike Morley CPA, FCI, CCE, MICM, author of The Complete Guide To Credit & Credit Repair for Canadians. "I'm closing in on 400 talks and every time I talk to a live crowd and I ask, 'Who has seen their credit report?' I barely get one or two hands. How people trust banks and credit organizations to look after them!"

Read the full story here>>>

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Good-Natured Dog Desperately Needs New Home

Rogi is an intelligent, friendly, 8 year Chow/Belgian shepherd cross male with a warm, loyal personality. He needs a new home where he can have some freedom to run and receive lots of attention.
He has a large circle of human friends who would like to be able to visit Rogi on occasion, and the current owner would also like to stay in touch with him, if at all possible, so it would be great if he were in the Metro Vancouver area.
If you are interested, please feel free to call the owner at 604-939-4779 or email her at


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

News: Police Probe 'Act of Savages'

Disabled man's body found in his East Van home

Stuart Hunter, with a file from David Carrigg, The Province

Published: Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The family of suspected murder victim Rick Marques says the person who killed the physically and mentally disabled man must be a "savage."

Marques, in his mid-40s, fought his way back from a serious motorcycle crash about 20 years ago only to die under "suspicious circumstances" in his East Vancouver apartment on Monday.

"He came a long way back -- he was in a coma for three months after the accident," said a relative, who asked to remain anonymous. "He had to learn how to eat and speak again. He's had a tortured life.

Rick Marques, seriously injured in a motorcycle crash 20 years ago, was found dead Monday in his Vancouver apartment.

Rick Marques, seriously injured in a motorcycle crash 20 years ago, was found dead Monday in his Vancouver apartment.

Global BC

"How could anybody do this to a person like that? They must be savages -- the kind of SOB who only picks on the elderly and disabled people -- those who can't defend themselves."

Marques' body was found in his South Twins Court ground-level apartment near 30th Avenue and Nanaimo by his mother. The area around his suite was cordoned off by police tape yesterday and bags of evidence were removed.

Read the full story here>>>

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Monday Funny from Hockey Zombie


Monday, March 24, 2008

Upcoming on Wax Poetic

(Wednesdays, 2pm 102.7 fm PST)
Listen live to CFRO at

Program Schedule

March 27th
Brian Nelson
- He'll be talking about his new production company Creative Buzz Productions, and sharing his work.

April 2nd
Diane Tucker -
Diane is a fabulous award-winning poet with several published works including her books God on His Haunches. (Nightwood Editions, 1996), and Bright Scarves of Hours (Palimpsest Press, 2007).
Hopefully Diane and I will have a chance to share our "back in the day" story with you all.

Check out our way-cool new blog featuring video and audio from past shows, plus info on poetry happenings in and around Vancouver.
It holds hours of literary audio and video and is a great resource for teachers and content providers.

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Food: The Reef

Reviewed by Jak King

I guess Commercial Drive just wasn’t ready for an American-Pie retro Quebec diner featuring poutine. We watched a man build Frenchie’s last year through months of hard effort. And we watched as day after day and week after week Frenchie’s was never busy. Some days it was hard to see a single bum in a seat. Not surprising it closed, I guess.

But Frenchie’s sad loss has proven to be a boon for the Drive because the space has been taken over and refurbished as The Reef, a Caribbean joint, with other branches on Main Street and in Victoria. We had dinner there last night and it was great! Simply but appropriately decorated and furnished, the atmosphere was good, the service attentive, and business brisk.

Read the full review here>>>

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News: Legislated Closing Times Could Shut Down Nightlife

Jack Keating, The Province

Published: Monday, March 24, 2008

Vancouver's no-fun bureaucrats are at it again.

Vancouver has quietly adopted a policy where senior bureaucrats -- and it's these folks who really run the city -- have decided most restaurants, bar and grills, cafe/lounges and pubs that serve beer, wine and spirits will have to close at midnight, even on Friday and Saturday nights.

That's right. The bureaucrats want everyone to stop having fun and go home at midnight. What a sham!

The city wants to turn Commercial Drive, Main and Cambie streets, Broadway, West 4th and other areas into ghost towns at midnight.

Read the full story here>>>

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Video: Commercial Through a Tourist's Eyes

Came across this neat little video made by a tourist about her trip to Commercial. Very well done!

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

For Your Information

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Special Event: Panel Discussion at Britannia Art Gallery

Click on this announcement for a larger version.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Denizen of the Day: Kevin Noble

Kevin Noble, owner of A Small World Gallery and Gift Shop, taking in the morning sun with smoke and Coffee in hand. Drop in and visit the store at 2120 Commercial Drive or visit them online at

To see more Commercial Drive Denizens just click the "denizen" tag at the bottom of this post.

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Picture of the Day by Peter Valentine

Ever vigilant overhead.

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Literary: Ryler Dustin at the Slam

















$3 for 18 and younger $5 for 19 and up



604 215 9230 for more info

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Community Profile: Michael McLaughlin, VanCity BoD Candidate

Born in Saint John New Brunswick, Michael McLaughlin moved to Vancouver in the early 70’s and has been a member of Vancity at Branch 11 for almost 30 years.

Currently, he works for BC Hydro in the Engineering, Aboriginal Relations and Generation business unit. He has also worked extensively in the non-profit sector as a theatre producer, director, and consultant.

He has served in leadership roles in various communities. These include postings as Executive Director of the Vancouver Fringe Festival, Artistic Producer of TheatreOne in Nanaimo and Artistic Director of Magnus Theatre in Thunder Bay. In 2006, he undertook a contract in England as Coordinator for the CIAO! Festival (Children’s International Arts Organization). He has implemented strategies for these organizations to widen company mandates, address local needs, and deepen the influence these non-profits exert, all the while creating community confidence and ownership.

As a consultant, Michael worked with a number of arts organizations including the Vancouver Playhouse, Rumble Productions and Presentation House Theatre.

His community involvement includes serving as co-chair of the Making a Scene Conference for the Professional Theatre Community of BC, as member of the Advisory Committee for the Journalism Program at Malaspina University-College and Vice President of the Board of Directors of Touchstone Theatre.

McLaughin says his cultural and business accomplishments have always been underpinned by the pursuit of community development – of building livable, sustainable communities. Pursuing these goals through service on the Vancity Board would allow him to employ his skills, talents and ethos to the fullest.

Here is his policy statement:

I have always admired the values Vancity promotes and its ability to balance sound financials with social activism. I am standing for the Board of Directors to turn that admiration into constructive action.

I am certainly interested in furthering the credit union’s bedrock priorities: to improve financial performance and market share, enhance social and environmental responsibility endeavours, and further Vancity’s position as a great place to work and increase membership.

Having led a non-profit arts organization whose enterprise venture has been supported by Vancity, I know how enterprise endeavours can support community development goals. I also understand the need to develop long-term financial stability and self-reliance across the sector. As a Board member, I will promote growth in Vancity’s leadership role in social enterprise and in partnerships across all segments of the non-profit sector.

Hand in hand with non-profit development goes the need for services that meet the aspirations of small businesses and entrepreneurs. To that end, I will advocate for business start-up and development policies and services that enhance Vancity’s already substantial influence in the small business community.

In closing, my priorities for Vancity are to:

  • Improve financial performance and market shares
  • Enhance social and environmental responsibility endeavours
  • Further Vancity’s position as a great place to work
  • Work for increased Vancity membership
  • Promote Vancity’s contribution to non-profit enterprise
  • Advocate for small business development
  • Support the arts

For more information or to assist in my campaign, please contact me at

Thanks for the opportunity to walk the talk.

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Special Event: Next Drive Fest All Organizers Meeting April 9th

Preparations for the fabulous Commercial Drive Car Free Festival are well under way.
If you want to be a part of it, then get to the next organizers' meeting, happening Wednesday, April 9th 7PM at 1707 Charles Street (enter through the garden gate east of the main entrance).Try and bring an interested friend if you have one.For the information of all organizers (and potential organizers), 7PM meetings at 1707 Charles Street have been set for the following dates leading up to the Drivefest:
- Tuesday, April 29th- Wednesday, May 14th
- Tuesday, May 27th
- Wednesday Jun 4th
- Tuesday, June 10th
Please reply to us at if you have any questions or can't make the meeting, but would like to get involved.

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When Selling Your Home, Using Scents Makes Sense!

Even if now doesn't seem to be the ideal time to sell your home, you can take heart in knowing that small actions may make a difference in getting your home sold.

"Scentmosphere" isn't exactly new but it is rapidly becoming a way to attempt to attract buyers.
"When buyers walk into a house before they actually see anything in that house, because they breathe, they are smelling. So they are actually getting an impression, whether it's conscious or subconscious, of your home -- just by the way it smells," says Rick Ruffolo, senior vice president of brand, marketing, and innovation for Yankee Candle Company.
So, right now take a deep breath. What kind of "smellment" is your home making?


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Review: Prado Cafe


Thanks to Darren Patrick over at for letting me share this little review:

There’s something to be said, I think, about waking up on the right side of the bed.

Well, there’s no bed involved in this experience and there’s no real ‘waking up’ going on, per se. Instead, it was how the day started (because of one employee at Prado Café on Commercial Drive) that my day fired on all cylinders from that point on.

It was a sunny Sunday morning in Vancouver and I had a meeting on ‘The Drive’ with a business that has been following for a few months and was interested in partnering. I should tell you that I enjoy taking these meetings from time-to-time if my schedule permits. What I haven’t yet told you, though, is that this particular meeting was early and, me being me, was in dire need of my Americano misto ‘fix’.

In fact, I recently discovered that Prado Café sources coffee from the 49th Parllalel! How cool is that? Props to chinese broccoli for the photo, by the way.

Prado Café, if you haven’t been, is what I like to call a minimalist coffee experience. Picture a warehouse/lofty/industrial/bricks-n-sticks layout (although, I didn’t see any bricks) with just enough furniture to make George Orwell wake up and take notice. Then, throw in a scattering of tables and some pretty hip clientele (you know what I mean…imacs, books, bongo drums, and the like…artistic types!). I have really gotten into the whole Commercial Drive ‘vibe’ lately and Prado Café is just another extension of this.

Read the full article here:

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Visual Art: Britannia Gallery Goes to the Dogs

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Community Profile: Gary Bizzo, VanCity BoD Candidate

Gary Bizzo is Manager of the United Chinese Community Enrichment Services Society (SUCCESS) Self Employment Program at our Business & Economic Development Centre in Vancouver. He has been involved in community, social enterprise and program development for the 10 years. He gained an extensive knowledge of proposal development, labour market/economy exposure and has a working relationship with of all 3 levels of government.

Prior to working with SUCCESS, he was an entrepreneur (Commercial Photographer and Advertising Agency) for over 30 years. He oversaw and mentored the owners of over 450 businesses. His work with SUCCESS, the internationally respected social service agency, has given him expertise in community development, capacity building, social enterprise development and a rich experience dealing with a variety of cultures.

He continues to be an entrepreneur, running an international marketing company. He is confident delivering presentations, workshops and is the ‘go to’ guy when things need to be done. He is also the President of the BC Entrepreneur Development Association which advocates for over 5000 BC businesses. As the leader of a group of entrepreneurs he has developed invaluable skills in team building, administration, marketing and public relations. He is a member of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network, The Vancouver Board of Trade, The Burnaby Board of Trade. He sits on the Boards of the BC Urban Entrepreneur Development Association, Burnaby Arts Council and the Canada-China Importer & Exporters Association.
He and his wife, Jo Ann, live in Burnaby.

His priorities include:
- Provide an Open ear to any member’s issue and problem
- Support community initiatives that gives Metro Vancouver its social conscience
- Continue and enhance the support Vancity provides to Small Business
- To support the development & leadership role in successful community social enterprises - Continued support of the ABLED program supporting entrepreneurs with disabilities, and the Self Reliance Loans and Peer Lending programs for micro-entrepreneurs.

He has this to say about his platform:
Now is the time for boldness. With BC’s strong economy, the environment taking center stage, sustainability on the lips of everyone and people seeking transparent corporate and personal responsibility we need strong leadership! These are important times and you can make a difference. Please vote!

Visit his website at

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Special Event: East Van Allstars Round 2

Grandview Legion
2205 Commercial drive
Thursday, March 2oth
8 PM

Going to the East Van Allstars for the 2nd round is as good as getting to 2nd base on the first date! Hosted by potty mouth felon Watermelon & smartie pants sailor Tiny Taylor. Inspired by the 100 mile diet..don't just eat locally...laugh your ass or grass off and party on down in East Van baby! A show case of local East Van talent... featuring Rich Hope and the Evil Doers, Blind God, Barry Kennedy, Baba Brinkman and of course Scantily clad showgirls Little Miss Risk, Shameless Lee and Little miss Rosie! Plus our fabulous house band Catwater... Doors open at 8pm show starts at 9pm. tix @ the door $15 or Reserve Tix in advance call Corinne (604) 723-2822 ... THIS SHOW WILL SELL OUT!

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tomorrow on Wax Poetic: Battle of the Bards

Tomorrow's show will be a big treat as we welcome to of the giants of English literature into the studio. William Butler Yeats, and Robbie Burns. And just in time for Vancouver's biggest St. Paddy's celebration, the 2008 Edgewater Casino CelticFest. Yeats and Burns (along with Dylan Thomas) will be battling it out poetry slam-style, warming up for their big Battle on Thursday, March 13th as part of the Battle of the Bards Literary Pub Crawl. The crawl starts off at Doolin's Pub at 5:30 pm and finishes of in a big way at Ceili's Irish Pub at 8pm with a karaoke face-off where the poets have to spill their words backed by the sonic stylings of DJ Michael Louw and Elise Bouer.
After the ultimate winner is crowned, Louw and Bouer turn it into a crazy celtic dance party.
Tune in to the fun on Wednesday at 2pm PST, or check out our website for more info plus video, audio and pictures from past shows.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Commercial Drive's old street banners get second life as reusable shopping bags!

Almost every year the Commercial Drive Business Society prints 256 32" x 60" nylon street banners which help create a festive, colourful atmosphere for this unique shopping neighbourhood. Eventually each edition of these unique designs must be retired, so rather than sending them to the landfill they've come up with a very green idea — transform them into reusable nylon shopping bags! By converting 2 years worth of old banners rather than using new nylon fabric, this neighbourhood has:
  • avoided 7,059 pounds or 3.53 tons of CO2 emissions
  • avoided sending 128 kg (281.6 lb) of nylon to the landfill
  • saved 25,456,640 BTUs of energy – enough to provide electricity to an average Vancouver home for over 10 months
  • freed up 543 trees to capture and store CO2 from other sources for a full year

"This green initiative even goes one step further", explains Ian McSorley, marketing chair for Commercial Drive. "Proceeds from the sale of these shopping bags will be donated to the development of new green spaces in the neighbourhood."

Read the full story here>>>

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Special Event: 4th Annual Sistahood Women's Invitational Poetry Slam

Featuring Toronto's Amanda Hiebert and Krystle Mullin with your host, Rachel Flood.
Monday, March 13th
9:00pm - 11:30pm
Cafe Deux Soleils: 2096 Commercial Drive
Once again the Sistahood Festival and the Vancouver Poetry Slam are teaming up for the Sistahood Women's Invitational Poetry Slam.

As a spoken word poet, Amanda has been on the Toronto Poetry Slam Team six years running. As part of the Toronto Poetry Slam Team, she has toured across Canada and the United States performing in high school’s, drop in centre’s, libraries and live music venues. Since 2003, she has performed over a hundred shows in the Greater Toronto Area. She has also been featured on CBC’s ‘Wordbeat’ and the University of Toronto’s ‘CIUT’ hosted by Nik Beat.
Amanda is also a playwright and actress and has performed her work across Canada.

Krystle Mullin’s distinct raspy voice may well be taller than she is (she stands only 5’3) but a lack of vertical height hasn’t stopped this spoken word artist from reaching unimaginable heights in a short period of time. She has been performing for just over a year and has already toured across Canada, been a member of the Toronto Slam Team and implemented a program that integrates spoken word poetry into Ontario high schools. Krystle’s style and rhythm borrows from folk, hip-hop, and hillbilly practicalities.

Also performing are Radar, Julie Parrell, Sasha Langford, Shannon Rayne, Fran Bourassa, Nadia Chaney, Sara Bynoe, Nora Smithhisler, Missie Peters, Olivia Berger-Hawthorne, Susan Cormier and Jill Binder.

Tickets are $10 at the door. This night will sell out so get there early the night of. It'll rock like no rock has ever rolled before.

There will be a short open mic before the slam starting at 8:30.

Everyone is welcome to attend.

For info call:

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Carbon Monoxide and Your Family

Do you know why you will not be killed or maimed by carbon monoxide? What steps have you taken to ensure this toxic, odourless, colourless gas -- universally known as The Silent Killer -- does not become an unwanted guest in the spaces you consider safe?
You may have taken precautions in one area, but all these essential locations must be equally safe: your home, garage, cottage, ski chalet, car, recreational vehicle and workplace. The same cautions apply when staying with friends or away on holiday.
Each year, adults, children and families fall prey to this deadly gas. Symptoms of this fatal invisible contaminant have often been mistaken for those of flu by family members and physicians. Even exposure to low levels of CO can cause health problems, brain damage or death. What specific actions have you taken to be sure tasteless, toxic CO cannot leak into your sleeping rooms and other spaces where you live, work, play and breath?
The blood test for exposure to CO detects the degree of poisoning by measuring the level of carboxyhemoglobin, a compound formed when CO combines with red blood cells to replace oxygen in your blood. This reaction reduces the oxygen supplied to

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Community Profile: Jennifer Sweeney, Vancity BoD Candidate

As promised, here is another profile on another nominee for Vancity's board of directors.

Jennifer Sweeney is currently developing a consulting and coaching service to work with women aspiring to be in leadership positions. She was born in Vancouver and worked in many different fields, from a typesetting company, to a brokerage firm and a summer camp, before returning to university to pursue a professional career. She graduated from UBC in 1989 with first-class honours, and was offered full funding to continue her studies in speech-language pathology at Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Indiana. She returned to Vancouver to practise her profession, and spent many years working with stroke survivors and their families. She now lives in Vancouver with her husband, Daniel Ouellet, who has recently joined BC Hydro’s Power Smart Program as a Specialist Engineer. She currently serves as Treasurer for the Vancouver Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. She is also a director of the Canadian Women Voters Congress and co-chair of the 2008 Women’s Campaign School.

She and her husband are are both active in the community and participate in local arts and music festivals.

Read more about her on her website:

She had this to say about her campaign:

As a longtime member of Vancity, I have been proud to be part of a financial institution that invests in our community. Vancity is a place where people come first, and that philosophy is reflected in Vancity's investments in the social and cultural fabric of our community.

I believe that healthy communities are places where people live, work and play together. Vancity is a leader in engaging the creativity of its members to find solutions to concerns in our communities.

If elected, I will:

  • support affordable and accessible housing development
  • work to improve services for small business owners
  • continue Vancity's legacy of creating inclusive communities
  • promote initiatives to reduce social isolation

Please feel free to contact me at . I look forward to meeting you!

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Live on the Drive: Amanda Tosoff @ the Libra Room

The lovely and talented Amanda Tosoff is a regular at the Libra Room on Wednesday nights. In this particular video she is accompanied by to guest players Paul Ruska on stand-up bass and Dave Robbins on drums. Check her out tomorrow night!

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A Note From Wendy Holm - Vancity BoD Candidate

I first met Wendy Holm last Saturday outside Vancity's Mercato branch and caught a fun picture of her in her raincoat which matched Vancity's corporate colours. She is running for the Board of Directors at Vancity.
See the link here.
We've had a bit of an email exchange and she sent me this about herself. I thought you might be interested in what she had to say.
By the way, if there are other candidates out there, I would be happy to post what you had to say, as with Wendy.
Feel free to contact me at or call 604-788-8340.

On a personal level, my family lives here and I want to see this city achieve its potential. I think Vancity can contribute to that goal. Vancity's Sacco Report (The Power of the Arts in Vancouver: Creating a Great City, Jan 2007, Professor Luigi Sacco) defines the road map to turn Vancouver into a creative community. Here's what it says in a nutshell: Creativity should be a cross cutting theme in all sectors. It is what makes good cities great. OECD says our kids are #6 in the world in terms of creativity but our cities are close to the bottom. Vancouverites are stuck in a post-industrial model - defining ourselves by possessions (objects). To become a great city, a creative city, a flourishing city, we need to move to defining ourselves by experiences. We have tremendous resources to accomplish this. Not only the innate creativity of our youth, but - in the case of Vancouver - pockets of intense, ghettoized creativity. The Drive is clearly one. The Sacco report proposes a new future for the city: a vibrant and creative one that get's us both culturally and economically fit. It is a major work that needs to be moved forward in a systematic manner. Bob Williams, a collaborator on the Report, rejoined Vancity's Board to make this happen. But he (on behalf of the arts community) is impatient; more study won't cut it, it is time for action. Bob needs support on the board to pick up the pace... And that's where I come in. For more visit

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Wax Poetic: Writers on the Drive

I snapped this picture serendipitously a couple of weekends ago, when I came across Al Mader - AKA the Minimalist Jug Band (centre) chatting with former Slam Master Graham Olds (right) now living in Nanaimo. Then along came award-winning fiction writer Ivan E. Coyote, so I pulled her into the picture, too. This is also a subtle little reminder to check out the official blog for Wax Poetic, Vancouver's longest running poetry radio show.
You can download our show, watch videos and look at pictures taken during the show.
Or better yet, listen live on Wednesdays at 2pm PST on Coop Radio 102.7 fm.

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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sellers Must Work In Their Own Best Interests

Two similar properties, two different listing strategies and two very different outcomes.
This comparison of sellers involves a mid-career, two-income professional couple and a long-retired widow. One transaction netted relatively better returns due to seller savvy while the other continued to be a problem for months after closing. Reading this description you've probably decided which is which, but read on anyway ... .
The same pair of real estate salespersons, working for the same broker, listed both properties within days of each other.
Property #1: The first property was long over-due for modernization: original wiring and plumbing, an almost non-existent kitchen, and a very small and strangely-arranged lot.
The real estate professionals, as part of their listing pitch, dissuaded sellers from undertaking renovations, repairs or upgrades prior to sale suggesting it wasn't necessary for a speedy sale. No comparative market analysis was ...

Go to Charlie's website today at

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Live on The Drive

It was a busy day on the Drive yesterday. The sun was shining again and people were too. Here are a few moments captured for your perusal.

Wendy Holm was in front of Vancity talking to members about the credit union's upcoming election for it's board of directors. Find out more about Wendy at

Singer Monica Lee was making the postering rounds in support of her show with Pawnshop Diamond happening at Lime next Saturday (see below). With her is the Libra Room's Joee Brassard-Dejardins and Carly Tennant.

When you gotta eat... You gotta eat. Snapped these candid photos outside Tony's Deli yesterday afternoon.

I rounded the day off at the Libra Room last night.
Here are my new friends, Genevieve Garon, and Derek Michaud.

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